Nazarbayev University Strategic Partnerships

Aerial view of Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan

Nazarbayev University (NU) strategic partnerships with top research universities have resulted in fast-paced growth and will likely be emulated by other academic institutions, according to Duke University Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Michael Schoenfeld.

In 2009, NU and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business partnered to build a world-class business school in Kazakhstan. Fuqua provided insights into best practices on admissions, classroom design, curriculum development, and faculty recruitment. Today, NU students can enroll in a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Executive MBA, Master of Science in Finance, or executive education programs at the Graduate School of Business.

Regarding the NU/Duke strategic partnership that will continue through 2022, Schoenfeld comments, “The opportunity to partner, innovate, be entrepreneurial in an environment that is very excited about entrepreneurship, and create a presence in a part of the globe that is growing and changing rapidly and is committed to developing the best practices for business – those were all things that were attractive to Duke University back in 2009 [when we were approached by NU], in 2010 when we signed the initial agreement and in 2017 when we renewed it.”

NU partnered with Duke, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, National University of Singapore, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge, Colorado School of Mines, University of Warwick, and University College London in an effort to compete in global rankings by 2030. According to Schoenfeld, “It takes a long time to develop a world-class academic institution, and NU is doing it very quickly. Duke also developed very quickly. It is the youngest of the major elite universities in the United States and was founded in its current form in 1924. There is a certain kinship between a university in Kazakhstan that was looking to develop quickly and Duke, a university that has also been young, ambitious, and fast-moving.”

NU’s goal is to be part of the global rankings of leading research universities by 2030, and they are utilizing innovation, academic and research excellence, and production-oriented research and leadership in education reform and healthcare service models to achieve this. Schoenfeld says, “I suspect that when NU gets to that point of entering the ‘race’ (in global rankings), it will surprise a lot of people because of the scale and strength of the institution. If the Eurasian region continues to be a relatively stable place for innovation that develops ideas for economic activity, creating new knowledge and being a hospitable place for academic freedom, then I think that NU has a very good chance of being recognized among the top universities in the world.”

For additional information on NU, visit them online.

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